It is no exaggeration to say that we have a supernatural revelation in God’s Word. Sometimes, and understandably, we refer to it as a living book. Most Christians would know what that means. However, it’s not the book itself that is alive. It is God speaking His message to our hearts. It happens something like this: The Holy Spirit enters our inner being at the new birth. Then, He activates what God is saying to us. He helps us understand God’s Word and then provides motivation to apply it and obey it. This happens when we carefully listen. Too often, we override what God is saying with excuses and rationalizations. If we learn to be yielded to God’s voice, the Holy Spirit fills us. Scripture gains more and more ground in our lives. The Holy Spirit guides, directs, and imparts wisdom and increasing understanding. The Word flowing into our lives begins to flow through us and then overflow into the lives of others The current of God’s working touches them. We just go with the flow, letting God use us. Jesus, in John 7:37-39, speaks of this: “…..Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly (his inner being) shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive….” In other words, we are to function like clear channels for rivers of living water to flow through. Mary E. Maxwell helps us understand this in her hymn, “Channels Only,” She wrote: “How I praise Thee, precious Savior, that Thy love laid hold of me; Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me that I might Thy channel be. Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit hearts that full surrender know; that the streams of living water from our inner self may flow. Channels only, blessed Master, but with all Thy wondrous pow’r flowing through us, Thou canst use us every day and every hour.”Selah! We need to deal with anything clogging the channel. God has the means for cleaning out the channel. Look to Him for the cleansing! Ron
The phone rings (or vibrates). Someone says, “Hey, (fill in your name)! You have a call.” You pick up the phone and say, “Who’s this?” A voice answers: It’s Me, God!” If this imaginary scenario were possible and it was actually God on the line, I expect we would give Him our undivided attention. However, when we actually hear from God, why do we give Him very little attention? You might ask, “When do I hear from God?” When you open your Bible, you hear from Him! Your response might be, “I read my Bible but I don’t seem to hear a voice.” Of course you don’t, if you treat the Bible as just another book. You might scan it or read it as a very interesting book. You might study it as an important textbook. Until you realize you have entered the Presence of God and hang on His every word, you won’t hear His voice. Let’s not be like those in Matthew 15:8 that Isaiah spoke of and whom Jesus quoted: “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with (their) lips; but their heart is far from Me.” Those who are born again will learn to listen. Don’t be a slow learner! Eliza E. Hewitt’s hymn, “I Hear a Voice, ‘Tis Calling Me,” gives us a stanza that speaks to this: “I hear a voice within my soul; my Saviour seeks for full control, to lead me on to “things above,” to stronger faith, to purer love.” Selah! Approach God’s Word, quiet your heart, shut out distractions, really think on a passage or verse, then pause and realize this is what God is saying to you. Then, heed what He tells you! Ron
Jesus said something that I suspect few of us truly grasp. John 6:63 gives us the record of His profound words: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, (they) are spirit, and (they) are life.” What did He mean? Before I try to get a handle on this question, let me ask another: How does the resurrection life of Jesus enter our inner being? I suggest that the Holy Spirit, at our new birth, implants the seed of the Word. (See I Peter 1:23). From that point on, when we actually listen to God, the Holy Spirit uses those words that God speaks to our hearts to enable His life to take over more and more of our inner being. I think this is why we are told in Colossians 3:16a to: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….” We are increasingly filled with the Word. When that Word is heard, understood, heeded, applied, and obeyed out of love, trust and reverence, God’s Life in us flourishes. The living Holy Spirit, God’s Presence living in us, makes the Words of God alive with His voice. He is speaking to us! Give Him your full attention, when you listen to Him in the Scriptures! I believe Eliza E. Hewitt’s hymn, “More About Jesus,” shows that she understood this truth: “More about Jesus in His Word, holding communion with my Lord; hearing His voice in ev’ry line, making each faithful saying mine.” Selah! When we enter the Word of God, listen intensely for His voice! He is talking to your mind and heart! Pay strict attention! Ron
It takes awhile for a new baby to discern his or her father’s place in their lives. Gradually, they become more aware of the father’s presence in their lives. Eventually, they sense his love and concern and miss him, when they don’t know where he is. They listen for his voice. They like it when he plays with them. However, the time comes when they begin to relate to him. They learn to hear his voice telling them that he loves them. They hear his instructions and rules. They, far too often, tune him out. They sometimes resist and rebel and there are consequences. When they suffer for doing wrong, their father grieves and wishes they had listened to him. Other times, they obey and learn that he knows best. It may take considerable time to fully appreciate his training. The more mature they become, the more they love and appreciate their father. This is pretty much the way it works with our Father in Heaven. He wants us to be blessed, mature and have His character be developed in our lives. If we really know Him, it is imperative that we carefully listen and obey. Otherwise, He has to discipline us for our good. Hebrews 12:9-11 explains this: “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected (us), and we gave (them) reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened (us) after their own pleasure; but he for (our) profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” These thoughts from D. S. Warner’s hymn, “By Thy Blessed Word Obeying,” should be ours: “By Thy blessed Word obeying, Lord, we prove our love sincere; for we hear Thee gently saying, “Love will do as well as hear.” Every word Thy mouth hath spoken Is essential to our life; all Thy mandates love betoken, to oppose them is but strife. in Thy wisdom, Lord, confiding, we will follow in Thy way; with Thy love in us abiding, ’tis delightful to obey. Each commandment Thou hast given is a waymark on the road; leading up from earth to heaven, to the blessed throne of God.” Selah! In the words of the children’s song: “Obedience is the very best way to show that you believe” (Author unknown). Don’t be hard of hearing! Hear God’s voice! Ron
If you had a reliable map to locate hidden treasure, you most likely would attempt to locate the treasure. Would you take the map, walk or drive to the location and stand there wondering how to get to it? Of course not, you would prepare; you would take tools; you probably would need help. If it was great wealth, you wouldn’t say, “When I have time, I’ll go looking.” This is just exactly how we should go after the treasure in God’s Word. We need a definite time to seek; we need tools; we probably will need some help from some who have experience; we need to prepare and plan. Then, we take the map and go to the site. We use our tools and start digging. We expend effort, we keep at it and finally we see it! We gaze on rich jewels of grace, mercy and love, special treasures of wisdom, knowledge and guidance, information on an amazing inheritance. We find information about life and about God’s plans and our future lives. All kinds of information about having a joyous, meaningful life is found, as well. Then, we find something that is like no other treasure! From the center of all this wealth, there comes a Voice: God’s voice speaking to our minds and hearts showing us how to enjoy our relationship with Himself, as He enjoys the relationship with us. How could it be any better than this? We are rich, indeed! The writer of Proverbs 2:3-5 explains: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” John Burton gave us the hymn, “Holy Bible, Book Divine,” in which he speaks of this limitless treasure: “Holy Bible, Book Divine, precious treasure, thou art mine: mine to tell me whence I came; mine to teach me what I am. Mine to chide me when I rove, mine to show a Savior’s love; mine thou art to guide and guard; mine to punish or reward. Mine to comfort in distress, suffering in this wilderness; mine to show by living faith, we can triumph over death. Mine to tell of joys to come, and the rebel sinner’s doom: O thou Holy Book Divine, precious treasure thou art mine.” Selah! Make your plan, secure help, grab your tools, go to the site and start digging! Ron
A glass of milk and a cookie go well together, as a snack That, hopefully, is only part of a good dinner. Milk is number one when we first enter this life. Next is some cereal aptly described as mush. Milk, mush and soft foods are all that can be handled for a brief period of time. The time comes when more solid food is introduced and, eventually, there’s nothing like a good steak (or whatever floats your boat). For most people, this is a normal progression. Why is it, then, when we think about Spiritual food so many are still on milk and mush well beyond the normal time? It is a sad commentary when people years into their Spiritual birth are still subsisting on milk and mush. Is it because their only nourishment is being spoon fed by the Pastor and/or teacher? What feasts are enjoyed, when people seek to have a daily diet of healthy food. The same thing is true Spiritually. When we have a well balanced meal from the Word of God, we grow, strengthen and become Spiritually healthy. How many times a day do we dig into a feast like no other? Perhaps we go several days without a bite! God puts His good food on our table daily. Do we ignore it and walk away? Do we say, I’m too busy; I’ll grab something later? How can we do this, when God sets out such a meal and has done it at great cost? The writer of Hebrews 5:12 rebukes such foolishness: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” E. May Grimes’ hymn, “Speak, Lord, in the stillness,” expresses the appetite of those who desire Spiritual health: “Speak, Lord, in the stillness while I wait on Thee; hushed my heart to listen in expectancy. Speak, O blessed Master, in this quiet hour; let me see Your face, Lord, feel Your touch of power. For the words You speak, Lord, they are life indeed; on Living Bread from Heaven, now will my spirit feed! All to You is yielded, I am not my own; blissful, glad surrender, I am Yours alone. Fill me with the knowledge of Your glorious will; all Your own good pleasure in Your child fulfill.” Selah! If you saw an adult using a nursing bottle, you might conclude something is very wrong; how much more so, when we are guilty of doing just that, Spiritually! Ron
In our earthly lives, it’s a wonder and a delight to see an infant mature into a wise and respected person. This, however, is only a dim picture of the wonder and delight of growing in grace. Someone comes to Jesus, receives Him as Savior and Lord. There is joy, excitement, relief. That person is born into God’s family. In Spiritual infancy, there is very little knowledge of what this new birth involves. Little by little, understanding is gained. A baby may be conscious of a father figure in the home but over time that father becomes more and more important to that child. It’s like that, Spiritually. God, our Heavenly Father becomes more and more important to us. We come to love Him, respect and reverence Him, appreciate Him, learn from Him, enjoy His Presence, benefit from His teaching, guidance, correction and wisdom. He protects and provides for us. We understand more and more of His love for us. Looking back, in a normal situation, we realize just how much our parents have meant to us. Seeing God’s hand shaping our lives, over the years, we come to appreciate how much He means to us. It’s soul-satisfying to gain more and more knowledge of the Holy! II Peter 3:18 admonishes us: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever….” Thomas O. Chisholm gave us the hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” It expresses what God, our Father, means to us: “Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not — Thy compassions, they fail not: as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear Presence to cheer and to guide, strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow — blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed Thy hand hath provided — great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” Selah! All who are born again came to God in a foreign land. We live here on earth for awhile for training and service. Meanwhile, our Father and our Savior are watching and waiting to welcome us to our “forever” home. This is the destination of all who are genuinely converted! Ron
Darkness at night provides a comfortable environment for sleep and that, in turn, contributes to better health. Darkness also furnishes some cover for illegal activities and for immoral actions. Light serves as a tremendous contrast. The rising sun in the morning is a great way to come out of a night of darkness. Trying to walk in a dark room is troubling. What a relief when a candle is lit or a flashlight shines its beam. Some parts of the world have 24 hours of darkness for a portion of the year. Depressing! When 24 hours of light returns, how welcome! This has a spiritual application: We are born into this world in spiritual death and darkness. As we leave the sphere of time and space at the end of our lives, that darkness is total and permanent. But God has shined a light into this darkness. It was Jesus! In John 8:12, He said, “….I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” We can experience the beautiful light of God, if we embrace “the Light of the World” as our personal Lord and Savior. When we do, our testimony is that of Colossians 1:13. Speaking of Jesus it says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” The choice that every human being must make is this: Will I experience eternal light or experience eternal darkness. The only time that we can be sure of making the choice is now! If you have come to Jesus, rejoice; if you haven’t, you risk eternal darkness! “The Light of the World is Jesus,” a hymn by P. P. Bliss, reminds us: “No darkness have we who in Jesus abide; the Light of the world is Jesus! We walk in the light when we follow our Guide! The Light of the world is Jesus! No need of the sunlight in Heaven we’re told; the Light of the world is Jesus! The Lamb is the Light in the city of gold, the Light of the world is Jesus! Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee; sweetly the light has dawned upon me; once I was blind, but now I can see: the Light of the world is Jesus!” Selah! “Light received brings light; light rejected brings night! There is a thin line between time and eternity! Ron
Guest Article-By Dr. A. W. Tozer
On Pursuing Quality
The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals. The size of the crowd, the number of converts, the size of the budget, the amount of the weekly collections: if these look good the church is prospering and the pastor is thought to be a success. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.
This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.
A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by another than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body. It is to mistake the old creation for the new and to confuse things eternal with things temporal. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error.
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Because of space limitations, we can give only a few examples. What examples they are! First and foremost, we are given the greatest of all blessings; it is to have a personal relationship with our Creator. That blessing is ours when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. When we do that, all sins are forgiven. New life (His) enters our innermost being. We become children of God. Peace enters our hearts. God’s peace is ours for the taking. His love is poured out on us; His joy fills us. He gives us purpose. He offers guidance and direction for our daily lives. He provides discipline, correction and fruitful living. We have a whole volume of God’s Word, the Bible. It gives understanding, knowledge and wisdom about how to live life to the fullest, it reveals God’s plan for the ages, our part in that plan, and gives us a glimpse of our eternal future. He will bear our burdens and give us grace, comfort, healing and hope. Well, I’m just getting “warmed up,” but I have to stop somewhere, so, consider this hymn by Charles Wesley: “Christ, from Whom All Blessings Flow.” Think on the content, carefully: “Christ, from Whom all blessings flow, perfecting the saints below, hear us, who Thy nature share, who Thy mystic body are. Join us, in one spirit join, let us still receive of Thine; still for more on Thee we call, Thou Who fillest all in all. Move and actuate and guide, diverse gifts to each divide; placed according to Thy will, let us all our work fulfill; Never from Thy service move, needful to each other prove; use the grace on each bestowed, tempered by the art of God. Many are we now, and one, we who Jesus have put on; there is neither bond nor free, male nor female, Lord, in Thee. Love, like death, hath all destroyed, rendered all distinctions void; names and sects and parties fall; Thou, O Christ, art all in all.” As Paul reminds us: “Blessed (be) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly (places) in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved, in Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” (Ephesians 1:3-8). Selah! As the hymnwriter says: “blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.” If you haven’t entered into that relationship, I urge you to do it now, while you can! Ron
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